Another birthday is fast approaching. That is always a reason for a bit of reflection, especially during the sunrise walkabouts. This year the thoughts seem to be running deeper than ever.
I am mere weeks away from submitting book number twenty to the publisher, and earlier this week a contract was signed for book number twenty-one. The quest to become a writer when I grow up continues, and that is reason for reflection.
As with any birthday, age is a factor that contributes to deep thoughts as the milestone draws closer. It now takes a hard squint to see sixty in the rear view mirror. Seventy is looming at the top of the hill. That in itself is good reason for reflection.
The fact that my pa passed last year is another. He was a hard man with a truly odd sense of humor. Starting at age forty, he would call me every birthday before 6:00 A.M. The message was always the same, “Another birthday. How does it feel being a day closer to death knowing that your best years are behind you?” Then he would hang up.
Well, at least from that point the day had to get better, and it always did. That summed up pa’s way of teaching, be it swimming, driving or how to confront life with a smile.
By nature, believe it or not, I am a reclusive sort of fellow that is most comfortable in the big empty places, and in towns with less than three stoplights. Still, one of my most memorable birthdays took place a few years ago.
The Route 66 Association of Kingman hosted a meet and greet for members of the Dutch Route 66 Association. Someone figured out it was by birthday. Well, in short order it turned out to be an international birthday celebration shared with friends. Adding to the fun the organizer had aged me by a year as evidenced by the writing on the cake. There was no need to say anything or make an announced correction. It was simply a time for reflection on what a fortunate man I am.
I am confident that having survived the apocalyptical year that was 2020 is another contributing factor. Last April just before the birthday, as sick as I was, survival was in doubt. So, this is reason for introspective thinking, and a tad bit of rejoicing in the year 2021.
Friends and business associates lost in the past year, that too is reason for somber reflection. Likewise with the current political situation that has me wondering when paranoia became as popular as the Super Bowl, and a large percentage of folk decided that it was a good idea to elect representatives that blend the worst of politics with the worst of televangelism.
This has also made me feel as though I have walked into the middle of a French movie with Japanese subtitles, and there will be a test about the film in the morning. Even my search of history for answers (currently reading a biography about Harry Truman) hasn’t provided solace. I just can’t seem to find a period, at least in American history, when people have been so easily and willingly divided.
I really feel sorry for comedians in this era. The politicians are writing material for them at record speed but they have no sense of humor, and it is increasingly obvious that they sure as hell don’t like the competition. I can remember when saying, “don’t tell my mother I am a politician, she thinks I am in prison” was a joke.
Lots of irons in the fire, and those also lead to some deep thoughts. Aside from the books, I am increasingly being asked to make presentations. I am hoping to be doing these in person again soon but meanwhile Zoom is pressed into service.
There is the distinct possibility that Jim Hinckley’s America, at least a few pilot episodes, will be shot for the FastTV Network soon. This is definitely another reason for deep thought.
And of course, a birthday is always reason to give thought on the twists and turns of life, and how I got to this point. This in turn leads to thoughts about what the future may hold, and how much time is left.
So, here is to birthdays. Here is to reflection, meditation, and to giving thanks, to old friends and to milestones. Here is to the grand adventure that we call life.